Watson Furniture Group, maker of 911 dispatch consoles, launches month-long celebration of telecommunicators
POULSBO, WA - Watson Furniture Group, a Poulsbo company that has been manufacturing 911 dispatch consoles locally since 1985, has kicked off a month-long celebration of 911 dispatchers, beginning with National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week from April 9-15. NPSTW is a national week of recognition for the hardworking dispatchers answering the call at 911 centers around the country and has been celebrated since 1981.
“We feel very strongly about supporting this community. As manufacturers of 911 furniture, we work to support the dispatch community on a daily basis through the incorporation of ergonomics and human-centered design. Beyond that, they are the unsung heroes of our first responder community, and we wanted to find a small but meaningful way to express our gratitude,” says Watson President CK McKenzie. In fact – it wasn’t until 2022 in Washington State that 911 dispatchers were even recognized as first responders, instead classified as clerical staff without the same training, benefits, and resources available. Watson is proud to recognize this momentous milestone for the PSAP industry.
Watson will be activating a wide range of efforts to amplify their Gratitude Campaign. Its roots, however, started with a simple badge.
‘We’ve always recognized our telecommunicator community, but this year we’re excited to take it up a notch,’ says Alexandra Reinken, Director of Marketing for Watson. Reinken has led an internal charge to extend the week of gratitude throughout the organization and has created a collectible recognition badge available to any telecommunicator who would like one. “These badges started at tradeshows but have taken on a life of their own,” says Reinken, “and we want to have the opportunity to reach everyone with these tokens of our appreciation.”
Beyond badges, the Watson team will engage directly with centers nationwide, starting with their hometown. Watson has partnered with local school Vinland Elementary to have 4th and 5th-grade students write thank-you notes to local dispatchers and learn about emergency preparedness as part of the curriculum. A Watson representative will visit local PSAPs to distribute treats and the students’ letters during NPSTW.
They’ve also partnered with various organizations, including 911derwoman, an organization that strengthens and supports the Women of 911 and equips them with the tools to foster professional and personal growth, as well as We Speak Dispatch, a podcast dedicated to familiarizing the public with the unique challenges of 911 dispatchers. The campaign will also be celebrated in person at regional and national tradeshows.
To get involved and support dispatchers, visit the FCC's website to find out if there is a PSAP near you and drop off a thank you letter or treats. Donate to 911der Woman or NENA, the national emergency number association, which lobbies for 911 dispatchers in every state to have recognition as first responders.